'Singing In The Rain Umbrellas' photo (c) 2012, Andy Roberts - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Check out my New York Times post for English Language Learners focuses on using music for language development and includes a student interactive, video, and teaching ideas.

I use music a lot in my teaching of English Language Learners.   I thought people might find it helpful to see which sites I believe to be the best out there to help teach English — Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced — through music.   My students have certainly found them helpful.

Music is a familiar, fun, and engaging tool to use in learning a second language.  This list includes sites that have music to listen to, activities for students to do, and ways for them to create their own.

This is latest of my “The Best…” series, also known as Websites Of The Year.    I am also in the process of designing a special page on my website so that it’s easy for students to access my lists of The Best Websites on their own.

You might also be interested in an interview I did about using music in the ESL/EFL classroom.

Lastly, you might find these other “The Best…” lists useful:

The Best Music Websites For Learning English
The Best Online Sites For Creating Music
The Best Online Karaoke Sites For English Language Learners
Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Music Sites
The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects
The Best Places To Find Lyrics On The Web
The Best Sites For Ideas On Making Simple Musical Instruments

Here are what I believe to be the best music websites for learning English:

The Music Page from the Language Guide, the best audio/picture dictionary on the Web for English Language Learners.  It’s obviously important for students to understand some basic music vocabulary.

Here’s a new site called Lyrics Mode.  This is clearly the best source for accurate song lyrics to print-out without having to put-up with countless annoying pop-up adds that are prevalent in other lyrics sites.

EFL Club Songs has been a favorite of my students.  It, too, has clozes to be completed while listening to popular songs.

Mondos: Song Lessons offers a lot of excellent song-related activities for English Language Learners.

Teaching English through songs in the digital age is a four part series by Vicky Saumell summarizing a recent #ELTchat session on Twitter. I can’t imagine you’d find a better compilation of resources and teaching ideas anyway — it’s a must-read and must-bookmark resource.

And, if that isn’t enough for you, Eva Büyüksimkeşyan has also posted another exhaustive list of music-related resources: Songs in EFL Classroom.

Lyrics Training. It shows YouTube videos of the latest popular songs, and provides subtitled “clozes.” In other words, it will show the words as they are sung, but it will periodically show a “blank” where a word has been removed. The video will stop at the end of that line, and listeners have to type in the correct word that they heard. The “blank” also shows how many letters there are in the missing word. You’re given the option of watching the video with a few blanks, more blanks, or none (which is great after you complete the whole song). It’s great to project it up on the screen and then have students — either individually or in small groups — use small whiteboards to write down their answers. It’s simple to use — no registration is necessary — and you can learn more about it at Teacher Training Videos.

LyricsGaps is similar to Lyrics Training.

Classroom Songs: 16 Creative Ways lists some good ways to use music in the ESL/EFL classroom.

I’m making some new additions to this list focused on research that supports using music in the classroom:

Effectiveness of Music on Vocabulary Acquisition, Language Usage, and Meaning for Mainland Chinese ESL Learner

Using Music in the Adult ESL Classroom. ERIC Digest.

ESL Through Music

clubEFL has the Picture Dictionary, that has mostly YouTube music videos and interactive exercises.

The British Council reorganized their website awhile back, and now that have all their songs for English Language Learners (including closed-captioning) all in one place. It’s an excellent resource.

Results of a new study will come as no surprise to anyone who teaches a second language: “Singing can help when learning a foreign language.”

Of course, having a little more research to back you up if people question the melodic tones coming from your classroom can’t hurt. Even more info on the study is here.

Using Music and Songs in EFL Classes is the theme of the 33rd ELT Blog Carnival, and it’s a good one! Eva Buyuksimkesyan has gathered contributions from English teachers throughout the world on the topic, and it’s so good that I’m adding it to this list.

“Lyrics Videos” On YouTube & English Language Learners

How To Teach English Using Music is from English Lane.

L Teachers & Students Will Love MusiXmatch – It Provides Karaoke-Style Lyrics To Most YouTube Music Videos

10 Ways To Use Songs In The EFL Classroom is from Lyrical English.

Songs and Activities for English Language Learners is a new and useful website full of resources.

Singing, Recording & Authentic Audiences For English Language Learners

Four Tips for Teaching English Through Music is by Judie Haynes.

How to use songs in the English language classroom is a great post by Adam Simpson.

Here’s A Successful Music Lesson We Did With Beginning ELLs (Hand-Outs & Student Examples Included)

Making the right choices: ‘Lean On Me’ is an intriguing lesson using music with ELLs.

There are places I remember is from On The Same Page and offers a new idea on using music in the ELL classroom.

Using music and songs is from The British Council.

Contribute A Song For ELLs To The “TeachingEnglish Jukebox”

Beyond Gap Fills. Using songs to learn a language. Why, how and which?

10 ways to teach English through music is from ETpedia.

Listen and Read Along is a great YouTube channel filled with text and songs that look like this one I used yesterday in my classroom:

14 Song-Based Lesson Plans and Activities is from On The Same Page.

Songs and Activities for English Language Learners is by Sandra Heyer.

Beyond the Gap Fill: Dynamic Activities for Song in the EFL Classroom is from American English.

Tune Into English has a lot of resources about teaching English through music.

New Ideas for Teaching English using Songs and Music is by Kristin Lems.

The Song Activity Factory has lots of song-related ELL lessons.

Vocal Remover “Removes vocals from any song.” This could come in handy if you’re teaching English through singing.

Picnic English has lots of song activities.


Vibely is interesting. Type in the name of any song, and it will show you its lyrics. The twist, however, is that various words are covered-up with a black box (which is removed by just moving your cursor on it to reveal the words). Though it’s not as useful as, let’s say, Lyricstraining (which can show multiple choices for what goes in the blanks, it still could be a good option for a learning tool.


20 song-based lesson plans and activities is from On The Same Page.

Teach English With Songs: Musical Sentences – a Fun ESL Activity Idea is from The Song Activity Factory.


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Song Lingo provides translations of songs.



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